DIY Dollar Tree Candles -

DIY Dollar Tree Candles

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DIY Dollar Tree candles are easy to make, and they only cost a few dollars per candle. Add essential oils for long-lasting fragrance.

It occurred to me recently that in my Life Before Handan (LBH), I had never been in a dollar store. For that matter, I’d never been inside a Walmart either.

I thought dollar stores were the final dumping ground for unsold goods, Chinese factory mistakes and suspicious foodstuffs. I imagined shelves lined with swollen cans of expired seafood from Eastern European countries: spoiled Baltic Sea sardines from Lithuania, rancid jellied eel from Romania’s Black Sea Coast and decade-old shrimp paste from the inland shrimp farms of Krakow, Poland, all waiting for an eager American bargain hunter to scoop them up and take them home.

DIY Dollar Tree Candles -

My first trip to a dollar store – a Dollar Tree in a certain town in Connecticut – did little to dispel my fears of reckless seafood and Chinese rejects. The store was unkempt, and the aisles were strewn with tossed-aside goods by uncaring shoppers.

But over time and after visiting several other Dollar Trees, my opinion of the chain began to change. I saw patterns emerge – The Crafting Corner, the seasonal displays, the glassware – and I realized that for many things in our lives, Dollar Tree offered the same items for one half or one third or one fifth the price! Slowly, but most assuredly, I began to enjoy my trips with Handan to dollar land. Though we knew most of what we’d find, every month would offer a new surprise.

(And I’ll tell you something for certain – I’d take Dollar Tree any day over, oh, say, IKEA! Yes, yes, I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to the Swedish Juggernaut, but it still takes a grievous toll on my body and soul each time I’m forced to trudge through the yellow-and-blue maze with the shuffling masses.)

Anyway, all this is a roundabout way of saying that I like Dollar Tree, and I enjoy going there with my babes. We recently shared with you our DIY citronella candles made from Dollar Tree wax. Gathering those supplies was a trip down memory lane – it was the first time I really took notice of the row-upon-row of Jesus candles.

DIY Dollar Tree Candles -

Well, I now know they’re called prayer candles, but back in my youth (in the good old days before internet), we just called them Jesus candles. You could find them in every grocery store in the land – you probably still can.

But we loved Jesus candles in college. It didn’t matter from which belief system we hailed or even if we were atheist. We liked them because they were cheap, they were interesting to look at, and they provided excellent mood lighting while listening to The Grateful Dead and Phish.

For those DIY citronella candles, we bought our local DT’s entire supply of Jesus candles plus some plain glass ones as well. We weren’t sure how much we would be using, so we overbought…by a lot.

But overbuying from Dollar Tree is rarely a problem around here. We’ll either exchange the surplus or make us of them in another project. And that is precisely what we did with our leftover Jesus candles. Those citronella candles we made were geared for outdoor summertime. My babes wanted to make some candles that would be suitable for year-round use, inside or out.

And it all started with a visit to Dollar Tree’s crockery aisle…


DIY Dollar Tree Candles

diy dollar tree candle supplies


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DIY Dollar Tree Candles -

Now, as with most crafts touted as “Dollar Tree,” you can take that with a grain of salt. Yes, it is possible to do it entirely from DT materials, but with a small additional outlay of money, you can upgrade some of the materials without breaking the bank. I’m specifically thinking of the wicks – new wicks are so much easier to use than the ones you’ll be fishing out of the melted wax in the Dollar Tree prayer candles.

Of course, if you want to add good smellies1 to your candle, you’ll need essential oils. But hey, DT may sell that! I honestly haven’t checked. And if you want more interesting colors than the few standards offered, you may want to invest a few bucks in some wax dye like we did.

Okay, I’ve yapped far too much for such a simple project (a fact that annoys the crap out of some, apparently, but as Popeye said, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”)

1“Smellies” is one of many Handanisms I’ve picked up over the years – it means anything with a good smell like cologne, perfume or any sort of fragrance you can add to something. (A Handanism is a word or phrase unique to my babes, due to English being her second tongue – like Apple Crumble and Finch instead of Abercrombie and Fitch – you can find more of them in this post.)

Step 1 – Make the candle bowl

We bought gray, black and white bowls to make our DIY Dollar Tree candles, but you can use whatever color or style you like. We wanted them to be simple and sturdy enough to use outside, inside and in the garage. I chose to glue the bowls together with Liquid Nails Fuze-It simply because I had an open tube of it with a little bit left. Better to use it up than let it harden. Super glue or E-6000 would work equally well, but with E-6000, you’d have to let it cure overnight.

adhesive gun and bowls

I put a thin line of adhesive around the bottom of the bowl – not too much. After, I spread it inward with my finger. If the glue is too thick, it will squeeze out when you join the bowls and make a mess.

putting glue on the bottom of a bowl

I placed the other bowl on the first, bottom-to-bottom.

gluing two bowls together

Step 2 – Make a bead string

When the adhesive had dried, I made a string of beads.

making a string of beads
making a string of beads

I determined how many beads was enough by wrapping the string around the waist of the glued-together bowls.

making a string of beads
tying beads around a bowl

When I had the right number of beads, I tied off the string.

tying beads around a bowl

I cut the excess string…

tying beads around a bowl

…and then used a skewer to push the ends in so they wouldn’t be seen.

tying beads around a bowl

Step 3 – Install the wicks

Since these are wide bowls, I installed 3 wicks to help the candle burn evenly.

making diy dollar tree candle

I knew from prior experience that the hot wax would melt the wax layer on the wicks and cause them to flop over so I constructed support scaffold from skewers. You can also see that I moved the wicks outward a bit, as I though I’d placed them all too close to the center of the bowl.

making diy dollar tree candle

Step 4 – Melt the wax

For a detailed discussion of how to melt the wax, please refer to our DIY Citronella Candles post.

Step 5 – Mix in colors and essential oils (if desired)

We kept it simple for two of our three candles and left the wax white. But for the white bowl candle, I wanted to make it with blue wax. I had a bunch of blue Dollar Tree Jesus candles (labels removed – I’m no Pious Pete, but I’m not about to go dunking the holy and the sacred in boiling water!), but I wanted them to be a little more blue, so I added in some dark blue wax. In essence, the DT candles are all either white or white with color, so when these colored candles cool and harden, the white comes into play and really softens the color. To make colors pop, you need to add a lot of dye.

making diy dollar tree candle

When the melted wax had cooled to about 125 degrees, I poured it into the white bowl. It looked almost black! I almost had second thoughts about the amount of dark blue wax I added, but then I reminded myself how much the color changes as they cool. You’re going to be amazed by the color transformation of this candle!

pouring wax into a bowl
pouring wax into a bowl
pouring wax into a bowl

As the wax cooled, the true color began to emerge.

pouring wax into a bowl

The more it cooled, the happier I got – it was starting to look like I had unwittingly recreated my absolute favorite color in the entire universe – Majorelle Blue.

pouring wax into a bowl

Majorelle Blue…

Our DIY Dollar Tree candles were really simple to make, and they allowed us to use up most of our extra prayer candles. Yes, we had the added cost of a few bowls, but now we have a whole lotta bug-fighting power to keep the skeeters away from Handan this summer. Yep, I didn’t mention it before, but I added a boatload of citronella essential oil to all three candles. Some people don’t tolerate that smell, but Handan loves it, so we can burn them inside or out.

DIY Dollar Tree Candles -
DIY Dollar Tree Candles -
DIY Dollar Tree Candles -
DIY Dollar Tree Candles -
DIY Dollar Tree Candles -

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      1. I would like to receive a copy if the condensed instructions also if that’s ok. I have been wanting to make homemade candles, just didnt know how before this.

  1. Handan isnt alone, here in the uk my family has always used “smellies” to define perfume, aftershave or even bathroom goods like bath bombs etc. Most commonly used at birthdays and Xmas when asked what we were gifted “i got this that and oh some great smellies”. I absolutely love this project and will need to take a trip to my local pound store for supplies.





  3. So I’m still mulling over the idea that someone from the U.S. had never been to a Walmart up to a certain point in life (Oh, come on!), and then, without warning, you go and fling Majorelle Blue out there! It’s the greatest blue ever, and very tough to create. You’ve got a darn-near-perfect match with the candle, but probably couldn’t have done it if you had tried–it has to occur by happy accident. (I’ve mixed a lot of paint over the years to try to mimic it. It’s not easy.) The candle is beautiful! Nice job.

  4. I can help you with your wicks when pouring wax. If you go to or both in Pa. you can get wick holders thee. Just one piece instead of all of those skewers. They also have all of the :smellies: you want. One of my favorite scent mixes is Cherry, strawberry and mulberry in equal amounts. The formula is 1 ounce for every pound of wax. Hope this helps a little. Oh the scent mix I make is “Lick me all over.” Can’t wait for the next item you present to us.

    1. Oh cool, thank you so much, Ellen! There will be more candles in our future, so I will certainly find an easier method to hold the wicks! 🙂

  5. We live in an apartment and can not burn candles but my sister who owns her house is a big candle person. This I will make for her for Christmas with a gnome wine cork and a box of molasses cookies.

  6. These could easily be on sale at IKEA, especially at the moment as this style is all in fashion. I WISH we had the Dollar Store here. We have similar places but nothing as good the Dollar Tree and such in the US. And the Jesus candles! ?? America, what?! Never in my life have I seen something like that anywhere. We do have just basic pillar candles, though. Though the glass jars those Jesus candles come in sure are nice! Great little project ?

    1. Oh my god, really? Oz doesn’t have Jesus candles? I hope you Googled them to see them in all their Technicolor glory! 🙂